Okay, so yesterday I had ‘Virgin Media’ installed. The time slot was 10am-2pm and at 10.30am I had a knock on the door from an installer. Excellent. The installation went very moothly; the two guys were quick, polite and have done a very neat job of the cabling. They ran it where I wanted it to go too. Excellent!

After about two and a half hours, the job was done – one Tivo, one V HD, one Phone Point and one Superhub. It probably would have been two hours but there was a slight hitch with the phone line. As soon as the engineers left, the first thing I did was do a Speedtest. I’d heard horror stories about Virgin. Lots of throttling, traffic shaping and slow speeds. I’m paying for an up to 60meg service and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed.

I also tested the connection throughout the evening too and it stayed pretty much around the 60Mb speed. I had a go on the xBox and was blown away with the speed. Matchmaking in Modern Warfare usually takes its time searching for the best game but I was in a game in seconds! I also tried a few torrents in the evening – Virgin do give low priority to torrent packets, but honestly, I didn’t notice, everything was flying down.

Moving on to the TiVo – it’s the geekest PVR ever! It’s a clever little box that does a helluva lot. It learns the sorts of programs you like and will recommend or even record them for you. I must admit it is very overwhelming coming from a Sky or even an old Virgin PVR, there are a lot of choices and options. That said if you want to go into the TV Guide and find something, you can, but there is so much more under the surface. The Apps are fantastic. After pointing out the ‘iPlayer’ app out to G she navigated through it to find CBBC programs and started streaming one – it’s so simple!

The V HD Box that’s upstairs is a bit more basic (with an annoying bright LED clock on the front), but it’s not too bad. Whilst it doesn’t have ‘Apps’ like its TiVo, you can still stream catch up TV pretty quickly.

A few Twitter people asked for a cost comparison over Sky. The way it seems to work is, if you want Sky Sports and Sky Movies, it’s probably more cost effective to stick with Sky. I don’t have either.

Let’s look at the figures.


TV :

Entertainment Extra HD Pack – £34.75
Extra Subscription – £10.25
Total – £45.00

Phone :

Sky Line Rental – £12.25

Broadband :

Sky Broadband (5meg) – £5.00

Total – £52.25

I was planning on taking the Sky Fibre (40meg) option for my broadband (but it’s not available yet!), that would have made my monthly spend £67.25

So in a year, that’s £627 per year with Sky with Broadband or £807 per year with Sky Fibre.


First off I have earned £142.50 signing up via Quidco – which is pretty awesome. I then opted for one of their new ‘Collections’.

I get a similar package to my Sky one, including a second box for the bedroom, BUT 60 Meg Broadband instead of 5, for £45 a month with £13.90 Line Rental, so in total £58.90 per month. They offer the first six months for half price too.

In a year Virgin will cost me £571.80. Which equates to £47.65 a month. Don’t forget about the cashback, which takes the annual cost to £429.30 so that’s a tiny £35.78 per month! No installation cost either!

If you’re after Sky Movies and Sky Sports (In HD) it’s another £36.50 per month.

Don’t get me wrong, the Sky service is good, but they can’t offer fast broadband to me and I’d got so sick and tired of having to go via the ‘Executive Office’ to resolve every issue. I’ve only had Virgin for a day and I’m sure they won’t be perfect, but I’m better off each month and I’ve got fucking quick broadband! 🙂

Read what I think 3 months in , and also 12 months in!

2 thoughts on “Virgin Media vs. Sky – Cost comparison / First impressions

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